- Designers: Bruno Cathala, Johannes Goupy
- Publisher: Mandoo Games /Rio Grande Games
- Players: 2-4
- Age: 8+
- Time: 30 minutes
- Times played: 3, on review copy provided by publisher
In Queenz, “you’re a famous beekeeper and compete with others for fame and prosperity. Bloom your fields, attract as many bees as possible around your hives, and produce the best honey of the country!”
The game is played on a garden board with a 6×6 grid of spaces where different colored orchid tiles will be placed – some of these tiles have 1-3 bees on top of the flower though the vast majority of them have no bees on them at all. There is a gardener token which stands at the edge of the board, highlighting a certain row or column that it borders. Each player gets their own player board, 3 beehives and 5 Honey pots, one of each color of orchid. A bunch of polyomino shaped field tiles are shuffled and a group fo 5 tiles is placed near the board..
On a turn, a player has two options: 1) take tiles, or 2) Fill a field.
To take tiles, you must take tiles only from the row or column where the Gardener token is standing. You can choose to take 1, 2 or 3 tiles, but there are conditions based on the quantity. If you only want one tile, you can take any tile you like. If you take 2 tiles, none may have bees on them. If you take 3 tiles, none may have bees on them AND they must all be different in color from each other. Collect your tiles and place them next to your player board. Now, move the gardener token a number of spaces equal to the number of tiles that you took.
To fill a field, you choose an available field tile from the supply, and then place it so that it is adjacent to one of your previously placed fields. Each space on the new field tile must be filled in with either a previously collected flower tile or one of your hives. Now look at the colored areas that you have made or extended with this newly placed field tile. For each contiguous color grouping, score 1VP per orchid tile in that group. If this is the first time that you have scored that particular color, place the matching colored honey pot onto the Honey Production track on your board. (If you have made the full set of 5 honey pots, take the highest VP bonus token left for this).
And, now let me talk about the exception for the Queenz. If you choose a flower tile with a single bee on it, you have a Queen bee. When you collect this tile, you have a one time opportunity to immediately swap it with any previously placed flower on your field tiles. You do not score any VPs for this placement, but it will obviously affect any later scoring with that color group.
Now, check to see if the game needs refreshing. IF the Gardener is moved into a row or column that is empty, the player that moved the gardener scores 1VP and then refills that row or column. If the active player took the last available field tile, he scores 1VP and then places 5 new field tiles next to the board. Finally, If the Gardener has made it all the way around the board and has crossed the red arrow, the active player scores 1VP and refills ALL of the empty spaces and also refills the field tile count to five.
The game continues until one player has filled out their fifth Field tile. After that, each other player gets one final turn – you can either collect flower tiles or you can fill in a Field tile. Only in this final turn, you can play a tile even if you cannot fill in each spot on that tile. You still score points as normal for this play.
Then there is some endgame scoring. Each Beehive scores 1VP for each bee in the 8 spaces adjacent to it. Also, score the number of VPs on your diversification token – 10/6/5/4 VPs – if you have it. The player with the most points wins. IF there is a tie, the player with the most bees in their fields wins.
My thoughts on the game
Queenz is a nice family level game. There are not many options each turn, either pull tiles from the grid of place a field tile down – but there are enough interesting facets to each decision to keep the game interesting.
When you are drawing tiles, you often have to choose between the quantity of flowers drawn versus the “quality”. The bees can be a powerful way to score points, and getting a rare Queen bee can be a nice way to set yourself up for some large payoffs in the future. But, each time you choose a flower with bees on it, that’s the only tile you’re getting that turn… Sometimes, you don’t have a choice as there may only be one flower left in your row — or you can purposefully choose a tile so as to screw over the next player into that situation.
The scoring of the colors when playing a field tile can be a bit tricky/cumbersome at first, but it becomes easier to grok after a few examples. This is the one part of the game that may be harder for the younger aged gamer to pick up, but again, it is not so confusing that it would prevent them from learning the game.
The art is simple, and the colors are easily identified. I am not colorblind, but I try to make mention of this as my somewhat poor eyesight often has trouble distinguishing between colors, especially in poorly lit rooms – like my basement. The tiles are nice and thick, and my only minor quibble with the components is that I wish the scoreboard were a little larger. It’s a super small honeycomb of spaces, but as long as someone nimble is manipulating the pieces on it, it’ll do fine.
Queenz is a nice game – while not being overly complex, there are still a number of different strategies to explore. One can try to diversify their flower placement and score points for the 5 color bonus, while others might try to concentrate on a single color and try to continually score more and more points as they enlarge their grouping of that color. One could also try to focus on the flowers with bees, and then strategically place their hives in a way to maximize the scoring of those tiles, especially the juicy 3 bee tiles.
Game play quickly, and thus far, our games around here have been competitive. I look forward to playing this more this summer, especially when my usual group starts to meet again.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y
- Not for me…